Don't want to start a Pins First - Tails First thread but
whichever way you go you've got to do one then use it to
mark the other. And that's where the fun comes in -
holding one on the other and keeping the positions fixed
while you scribe or pencil lines. If either moves while
your marking you're screwed.
I've posted an easy solution to alt.binaries.pictures.
woodworking - and the clamps are relatively cheap - about
$5 each and you only need two. They're aluminum ( or
aluminium for the Brits) and Pony makes the ones shown.
Hope this takes some of the frustration out of doing
handcut dovetails cause they can be fun to do.
I'm guessing you are describing using little Pony miter clamps to
hold the two pieces in position while marking, no? (I can't get
binaries through here.) If so, just to give credit where credit is
due, Chris Becksvoort (sp?) mentioned that tip in passing in an
article in FWW a couple of years ago. Ever since I first tried it,
I've been trying to pass the word on, because it simplifies marking
Anyhow, I'll second charlieb's suggestion. Try it and you'll never
go back to trying to balance one piece on top of the other while
marking. For long pieces you may need to provide additional support
for the piece being held on top, as the little clamps can flex under
pressure, but I simply grab a few scrap pieces of wood and stack them
until I get the right height to give some help to the clamps.
I know that Delorie is doing the posting of the pics for free and all that,
but it still is annoying that a large number of the posts don't show up on
his "archive". The topic of this thread, for example, isn't on his site. I
guess I don't understand the reason for his effort if he's not going to post
each and every picture.
There are no stupid questions.
There are a LOT of inquisitive idiots.
Just goes to show that there ain't nothin' new under the sun
and especially in woodworking. For those without access to
binaries groups I've added the photos to the appropriate
page on handcutting dovetails - with credit to Mr. Becksvoort
(sp?) (all one line)
Ain't that the truth. Still, I think it's cool that you came up
with the idea independently of Becksvoort. It goes to show that even
if there's nothing new, there are still great minds at work out there.
Before I forget, kudos on your webpage. With all due credit to our
friend on the other side of the pond (you, Jeff), it has the best
illustrations and step-by-step descriptions of any ww'ing page I've
Outstanding work, charlieb.
I do instructions for myself as I'm learning something new
and if they work for me I figure others could use them.
As for kudos I guess "ah shucks" is about right. Jeff is
not only in a whole other league, I'm not even on the
same planet. If he wasn't a teacher he should have been.
Now if I can only work up the courage to cut the dovetails
on the 8/4 apron stock for my bench. Cutting dovetails in
3/4 cherry is very different than cutting them in 8/4 stock.
I keep foreseeing the 68 inch long bench top slowly being
whittled down to cutting board size.
That's a good approach. I used to make extensive notes when I was
first tackling a project or a particular skill. Now that I know
everything ;-), I've stopped making notes, but it's almost a shame.
I got a kick out of re-reading some of what I had written, and it
could help me not make the same mistakes ovewr and over again. :-}
Whether he *was* or not, he certainly *is* now. He covers a
broader range of subjects than you do, but I haven't seen anyone who
has such clear and thorough illustrations as the ones on your site.
Anyhow, you're doing great work.
:-) Just go for it. Ironically, you may find that it's easier to
cut accurately in stock that's thicker than standard 3/4. I don't
have a lot of experience with thick stock and dovetails, but when I
made a gardening bench out of 8/4 stock, I found that it was fairly
easy to keep the saw straight, as you have more to reference your
I know that I have had more trouble with thinner (less than 3/4)
stock, because if you start the slightest bit offline, there's no
chance to correct as you cut. (And thin stock wants to flex more in
the vise, which compounds the problem.)
Which reminds me of another "helpful hint" for cutting dt's: If
you have thin stock, try clamping two tail boards together when laying
out and sawing. (Of course this only works if you do them the "right"
way: tails first. ;-) This saves some time and gives a better
reference for your sawcuts.
Well, Between your site and Jeff's site on the other side of the pond
(or up North from me in South Africa), I must say that there is enough
to get me started in hand cut dovetails. I like the illistrations on
Charlie's site. Jeff also has some great info on using hand planes
plus a lot of other stuff realy worthwile.
All I can say is thanks for sharing your knowledge.
Regards George SA
OK, bigger jig, bigger router - but where're you gonna get a
dovetail bit with 2+ inches of cutting edge and how many
people will it take to hold the router. Better yet how're
you gonna find ANYONE who'd try it?
My problem is that my dozuki and dovetail saw will only
cut to a depth of about 1 1/2 inches. Really don't want
to have to buy a good tenon saw as well.
As an aside, was really surprised that the kerf made by
the LN dovetail saw is only very slightly wider than that
made by the dozuki saw. The latter blade seems so much
thinner and the set on the teeth practically non-existent.
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